Chemotherapy | Definition, Side effects, Success rate, Cost

What is Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses strong chemicals to kill the rapidly growing cells in your body.

Chemotherapy is most often used to treat cancer because cancer cells grow and multiply much faster than most cells in the body.

Chemotherapy is an aggressive form of chemotherapy designed to destroy rapidly growing cells in the body. It is generally used to treat cancer because cancer cells grow and divide faster than other cells. It targets cells that grow and divide rapidly, like cancer cells.

Unlike radiation therapy or surgery, which targets specific areas, chemotherapy can work throughout your body. But it can also affect some healthy, fast-growing cells, such as those in the skin, hair, intestines, and bone marrow. This is what causes some of the side effects of the treatment.


Many different chemotherapeutic agents are available. Chemotherapeutic agents can be used alone or in combination to treat a wide variety of cancers. Although chemotherapy is an effective method that is used to treat many types of cancer.

Chemotherapy is not safe enough as it also carries a risk of side effects. Some side effects of chemotherapy are mild and treatable, while others can cause serious complications.

A doctor who was specialized in the treatment of cancer is commonly known as an oncologist. They work with you to do your treatment of cancer. They use several types of therapies for different cancer treatments. This depends on the condition of the cancer patient.

Chemotherapy is generally done or used in combination with other therapies For example surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, etc. The use of combination therapy depends on some factors which are as follows:

  • This depends on the stage as well as the type of cancer you have or the patient have
  • your general health
  • previous cancer treatments you have had
  • the location of cancer cells
  • your personal treatment preferences
  • It is considered a systemic treatment, which means it affects the whole body.

Chemotherapy has been shown to effectively attack cancer cells, but it can cause serious side effects that can seriously affect your quality of life. You should weigh these side effects against the risk of not being treated when deciding whether chemotherapy is right for you.

Uses of chemotherapy in different treatments

  1. Chemotherapy is mainly used to kill cancer cells in people with cancer.
  2. Chemotherapy is used to treat diseases of the bone marrow. Bone marrow diseases are those that affect the bone marrow and blood cells. These conditions can also be treated with a bone marrow transplant, also known as a stem cell transplant. Chemotherapy is also used to prepare a transplantation process for bone marrow.
  3. Chemotherapy is used to treat disorders related to the immune system. Lower doses or less doses of chemotherapy drugs help a lot in controlling an overactive immune system in certain diseases. For example lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

There are a variety of settings in which chemotherapy can be used in people with cancer. Cure cancer without other treatments. Chemotherapy can be used as the main or only treatment for cancer.

Chemotherapy is mostly used after other treatments such as surgery etc. to kill any cancer cells in the patient’s body. Doctors call this adjuvant therapy.

To prepare for other treatments. Chemotherapy can be used to shrink a tumor so that other treatments, such as radiation therapy and surgery, are possible. Doctors call this therapy advantageous. Chemotherapy can help relieve the signs and symptoms of cancer by killing some of the cancer cells. Doctors call it palliative chemotherapy.

Is there a side effect of chemotherapy

Yes, as we all know that every good thing has a bad back too. So even with chemotherapy, there are also side effects.

On the other hand, the most common side effects of chemotherapy are that it leads to the destruction of the immune cells of the patients, which leads to a weakened immune system of the patients. This increases the chances that any disease or infection will victimize the patient.

Some of the other side effects of chemotherapy are as follows:

  1. Nausea
  2. Vomiting
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Hair loss
  5. Loss of appetite
  6. Fatigue
  7. Damage to lung tissue
  8. Heart problems
  9. Infertility
  10. Kidney problems
  11. Nerve damage (peripheral nephropathy)
  12. Risk of a second cancer
  13. Fever
  14. Oral sores
  15. Pain
  16. Constipation
  17. Easy bruising
  18. Bleeding

Does chemotherapy kill hundred percent cancer cells?

It is not 100 percent sure that chemotherapy kills all cancer cells in a patient’s body. But in most cases, all the cancer cells are killed in chemotherapy but with that, all cancer cell’s chemotherapy rays or the rays used for chemotherapy killed other healthy cells of that patient too.

As Chemotherapy does not know the difference between cancer cells and healthy cells. So this increases the chances of causing any other infection in the patient’s body.

In most cases, the chemotherapy killed the immune cells of the patient including all cancer cells. This makes patients’ immune systems weak. This increases the chances of any infection or disease making that patient its victim.

Steps you should know and follow before taking chemotherapy treatment

1. Have a device surgically inserted before intravenous chemotherapy: If you are receiving your chemotherapy intravenously – into a vein – your doctor may recommend a device, such as a catheter, port, or pump. That catheter or other device is surgically implanted into a large vein of the patient usually in his or her chest.

2. Prepare for your first treatment: Ask your doctor or chemotherapy nurses how to prepare for chemotherapy. This might help to arrive for your first chemotherapy treatment. You may want to have a light meal ahead of time in case your chemotherapy drugs cause nausea.

3. See your dentist: Your doctor may recommend that a dentist examine your teeth for any signs of infection. Treating existing infections can reduce the risk of complications during chemotherapy treatment because some chemotherapy drugs can reduce your body’s ability to fight infections.

4. Chemotherapy drugs can be given through the device: Do tests and procedures to make sure your body is ready for chemotherapy. Blood tests to check kidney and liver function and heart tests to check heart health can determine if your body is ready to start chemotherapy. If there is any type of problem so ask your doctor so your doctor may delay your treatment or select another chemotherapy drug or dosage that is safer for you at that time.

5. Plan ahead for side effects: Ask your doctor what side effects you can expect during and after chemotherapy and take appropriate action. For example, if your chemotherapy treatment results in infertility, you may want to consider your options for saving your sperm or eggs for future use. If your chemotherapy causes hair loss, consider covering your head.

6. Arrange for help at home and at work: Most chemotherapy treatments are given in an outpatient clinic, which means most people can continue to work and do their usual activities while on chemotherapy. Your doctor can usually tell you how the chemotherapy will affect your usual activities, but it’s difficult to predict exactly how you will feel.

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What is the Success rate of Chemotherapy at current time?

At the current time several surveys of patients who take chemotherapy process for their treatment. According to these surveys, the success rate is approximately 90 percent or more because in most cases the patients remain normal but in some cases, they might be caught by side effects of chemotherapy.

So to protect yourself from these side effects you should take proper advice from your doctor and do each and everything with his or her prescription.

What is the Cost of Chemotherapy?

The cost of chemotherapy differs from stage to stage and from country to country. But we are going to tell you a way to get an approx ratio for the cost of chemotherapy.

In India, the cost of chemotherapy costs from 800- 1000 United State dollars but we recommend asking for a chemotherapist for the exact cost of chemotherapy as he or she might tell you the exact cost you need to pay for chemotherapy in your region. But a rough average is that each chemotherapy costs between 800-1000 USD.

What is resistance to chemotherapy?

Resistance to chemotherapy occurs when cancers that have responded to therapy suddenly start to grow. In other words, cancer cells resist the effects of chemotherapy.

There are several reasons for resistance to chemotherapy. Some of them are given below:

  • Some of the cells that are not killed by chemotherapy mutate (change) and become resistant to the drug. Once they multiply, there may be more cells that are resistant than cells that are sensitive to chemotherapy.
  • Gene amplification: Gene Amplification is one of the most used methods to treat cancer or to do resistance to chemotherapy. A cancer cell can make hundreds of copies of a particular gene in a patient’s body. This gene triggers an overproduction of proteins which makes the cancer drug ineffective.
  • Cancer cells can pump the drug out of the cell as fast as it enters by using a molecule called p-glycoprotein.
  • Cancer cells can stop taking the drugs because the protein that carries the drug through the cell wall stops working.
  • Cancer cells can learn to repair DNA breaks caused by certain cancer drugs.
  • Cancer cells can develop a mechanism if there is any kind of delay in the treatment of a patient having cancer. This mechanism inactivates the effect of drugs or medicine. This makes the condition of the patient more critical.

How is chemotherapy used?

Chemotherapy is used in several ways. For several reasons, some of the main uses of chemotherapy are given below. There are mainly three types of uses for chemotherapy:

  1. Radiation therapy: This is done using invisible radioactive particles to kill cancer cells. It can be delivered by a special machine that bombards parts of your body from the outside, or by putting radioactive material on, near, and even inside your body.
  2. Biological therapy: In this type, living material in the form of bacteria, vaccines, or antibodies is carefully introduced to kill cancer cells that kill them and help treat cancer patients.
  3. Surgery: A doctor may remove tumors or cancerous tissue or organs contaminated with cancer cells using chemotherapy.

How is chemotherapy administered or performed?

Chemotherapy is administered by several machines and instruments. Some of the small facts of chemotherapy are given below:

  1. Injection: Medicines are given by injection directly into the muscle of the hip, thigh, or upper arm, or into the fatty part of your arm, leg, or stomach, just under the skin.
  2. Intra-arterial (IA): The drugs enter directly into the artery that supplies cancer, through a needle or a flexible, thin tube (catheter).
  3. Intraperitoneal (IP): Medicines are given into the peritoneal cavity, which contains organs such as your liver, intestines, stomach, and ovaries. This is done during surgery or through a tube with a special port put in place by your doctor.
  4. Intrathecal chemotherapy (IT): The drug is injected into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which is found in the area surrounding the spinal cord and the brain.
  5. Intravenous (IV): Chemotherapy goes directly into a vein.
    Topically: you rub the drugs in the form of cream on your skin.
    Oral: you swallow a pill or a liquid containing the medicines.

How did the patient feel during chemotherapy?

Several interviews and data collected from patients who suffer from this disease and who undergo chemotherapy have different points of view. Different patients have different experiences. Their experience mainly depends on some main factors. Most of the patients felt sick and tried.

The factors that determine the patient’s experience receiving chemotherapy treatment are:

  • The general state of health of the patient
  • Type of cancer patient
  • How far along with this take
  • The amount and type of chemotherapy the patient is taking.

Can I work after chemotherapy?

Many chemotherapy patients want to know if they can work after chemotherapy or not. The answer, therefore, depends on the type of work they want to do and also on their state of health. If their health is okay after chemotherapy and the job they want to do is not that hard work. So they can do otherwise we don’t suggest you do a job recently after chemotherapy. Because after chemotherapy, bed rest is very necessary.

Why does chemotherapy cause side effects?

The fact that chemotherapy drugs kill dividing cells helps explain why chemotherapy causes side effects. It affects healthy body tissue where cells are constantly growing and dividing, such as:

  1. Our hair continuously grows.
  2. Bone marrow is constantly working for the production of blood cells for our body.

your skin and the lining of your digestive system, which is constantly being renewed

Because these tissues have dividing cells or have cells that divide continuously to increase their numbering and chemotherapy can damage them easily. But normal cells can replace or repair healthy cells damaged by chemotherapy.

Thus, damage to healthy cells usually does not last. Most side effects go away after your treatment is finished. Some side effects such as illness or diarrhea may only occur on the days when you are actually taking the medicine.

How well does chemotherapy work?

The chances of chemotherapy curing your cancer depend on the type of cancer the patient has.

  1. With certain types of cancer, most people are cured by chemotherapy.
  2. With other types of cancer, Some people get completely cured and in some cases, they do not get completely cured.
    Examples of cancers for which chemotherapy works very well are testicular cancer and Hodgkin lymphoma.
  3. With some cancers, chemotherapy alone cannot cure cancer. But this could help a lot in combination with other types of treatment to cure cancer.

You can understand this thing from an example: Many people with breast or bowel cancer receive chemotherapy after surgery to help reduce the risk of cancer coming back.

Extra Information about Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the only option for oncologists when cancer has spread widely to different sites in the body. However, almost all currently available chemotherapy drugs will eventually meet resistance after their initial positive effect, primarily because cancer cells develop genetic alterations, collectively referred to herein as mutations, to accommodate therapy. Some patients may still respond to a second chemotherapy drug, but few cases respond to a third.

Since it takes time for cancer cells to develop new mutations and then select those that sustain life through clonal expansion, “running against time for mutations to emerge” should be a crucial principle in the treatment of these cancers. currently incurable.

Since cancer cells are constantly changing to accommodate therapy while normal cells are stable, it may be a better strategy to switch from destroying cancer cells.

This new strategy requires the development of new drugs which are not genotoxic and can rapidly, in a few hours or a few days, kill cancer cells without giving the cells that are still living time to develop mutations, and whose toxicity should be limited to one or only a few body parts. So that specific protections can be developed and applied easily.

History of Cancer treatment or ancient treat of cancer

The prognosis for cancer has improved dramatically these days, compared to 1971 when US President Nixon declared war on cancer. Some types of cancer are fundamentally curable, such as testicular cancer, gestational choriocarcinoma, and certain subtypes of leukemia.

Some cancers, including lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers, have a very varied prognosis, with some early diagnosed cases that can be cured simply by surgical removal while many other cases, especially those lacking an early diagnosis, have a painful outcome.

There are other types of cancer that may not be curable, but are indolent and can take more than a decade to come to an end.

A large number of chemotherapeutic drugs have been developed over the past decades. However, while some of them have magical effectiveness, to begin with, especially those with specific targets and so-called magic bullets, basically all of them will eventually meet resistance after giving the patient a first high and sometimes the patient as well. oncologist.

Worse yet, these drugs will induce resistance not only through rapid, non-genetic mechanisms but also through genetic mutations and subsequent clonal selections of cells that are fundamentally resistant to all kinds of remedies.

After much thought, we have developed a new strategy for these currently incurable cancers and are presenting it in this essay for our peers to discuss.

Were fatal tumors curable even a hundred years ago? If yes, how?

According to Nauts’ description of a book by Tanchou in 1844, Dussosoy in France inoculated ulcerated breast cancer with gangrenous material through a small incision or dressed the ulcers with gauze envelopes soaked in gangrenous discharge, which caused a high fever and remission of the tumor.

From 1866 to 1867, Busch in Germany used cotton bandages to transmit bacteria from patients with erysipelas to small burns from patients with bone sarcoma, which caused fever and tumor remission, although ‘complete remission without regrowth required iterations of the procedure.

In 1882, Fehleisen confirmed Busch’s therapy and identified Streptococcus pyogenes as the bacteria responsible for erysipelas.

In the year 1887, Bruns cured a recurrent melanoma with the help of erysipelas and summarized 14 reported cases that have complete or stable remission.

From 1891 to 1936, Coley in New York injected, first alive and then killed by heat, bacterial mixtures of S. pyogenes and Serratia marcescens in patients with various sarcomas or certain epithelial cancers.

Ironically, the so-called “Coley’s vaccine” or “Coley’s toxin” seems to have been better than any other drug used today, with about 500 out of every 1000 patients treated this way. Coley or others showed tumor regression with much, including 2 ovaries in 4. cancer patients, surviving more than 20 years.

Its last use in the late 1980s, which was in China, resulted in complete regression of end-stage liver cancer. It is likely that these bacterial remedies are not only immunotherapies but also work by hyperthermia, as the effectiveness largely depends on whether patients have responded with high fever and hyperthermia also works by stimulating function. immune.

Unfortunately, these old remedies are no longer in use, in our opinion due to some things they are as follows:

  1. Fever tortures patients with great discomfort.
  2. It is easier to standardize chemotherapy drugs and radiation instead.
  3. Today, these bacterial strains may be less virulent while the immune response of the population may be different, compared to over a century ago, due to the wide use of vaccines and antibiotics.
  4. Different preparations of bacteria had different efficacy.
  5. Bacteria as natural substances are not patentable and therefore unattractive to the pharmaceutical industry.

Devier had noticed in 1725 that the tumors of syphilitic patients were more often cured than others and that prostitutes infected with syphilis had a lower frequency of cancer than the average population. Trnka de Krzovitz also reported in 1783 that the development of tertiary malaria could lead to complete regression of breast cancer within a few weeks.

In the year 1899, D’Arcy Power already observed an inverse correlation between malaria and cancer. They wrote about it in the book.

These historical reports have an inverse co-relationship of acute febrile infections with cancers, as reviewed by Hoption Cann showed that spontaneous recovery from cancer was much more common a hundred years ago than it is today.

Since the 1860s, when the aseptic technology of surgical dressings and steam sterilization of surgical instruments emerged, an acute febrile infection caused by surgery has become rare.

In 1899, aspirin appeared, followed by many other antipyretics. The dramatic decrease in acute febrile infection occurred after the 1940s when many antibiotics began to emerge. It is believed that these medical advances significantly explain the continued decline in the frequency of spontaneous recovery from cancers.

The ancient cases described above, although some of them may have been misdiagnosed, are undeniable proof that some cases of malignant tumors, even those which are still very fatal today, such as bone sarcomas, were once curable.

Moreover, these ancient cases also show that historically drug discovery has been made by chance clinical discoveries followed by research and evaluation of the scientific literature. Even the development of chemotherapeutic drugs began in this way.

However, roughly since 1929 when penicillin was discovered, and especially since the 1950s when more antibiotics were discovered and certain chemo drugs were developed, drug development has shifted. Today this model is “currently going through a crisis of insufficiency” as Kienle puts it or, in our opinion, is a waste of resources, effort, and time.


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